Red faces in Athens over Ferris wheel that won't turn
ATHENS - Agence France-Presse
AFP photoA senior Athens city official has resigned in an unprecedented fiasco over a Ferris wheel that was erected for Christmas but then dismantled over safety concerns before ever operating.
The head of the city's event-planning organisation resigned late Wednesday after a prosecutor ordered an investigation into the 40-metre-tall (131-feet) wheel that was supposed to offer the public free rides for more than two weeks.
The city had billed it as a cutting-edge "dream" but then reversed course and ordered it dismantled after the operating company failed to address safety fears in the required time.
"The city has turned down a request by the operating company to allow it to remain on the square until the required additional data are provided," the Athens city hall said in a statement.
The furore started after pictures circulated of the heavy steel wheel on central Syntagma Square supported by what appears to be wooden blocks.
The debacle prompted ridicule of Athens Mayor George Kaminis on social media for introducing "a wheel that fails to turn".
One such post showed King Kong futilely trying to budge the massive structure, a second showed Kaminis citing Italian mathematician Galileo Galilei's famous quote about the Earth -- "And yet it moves" -- while a third harped: "London Eye, bought at Lidl," referring to the budget supermarket chain.
In a statement, the operating company said they had been commissioned for the project in late November, giving it just a month to get it running when other European cities set aside up to three months.